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Mogajane: Govt wants to avoid public servant salary cuts at all costs

National Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane said that the economy had to grow and freezing public servants' wages was not enough.

FILE: Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane at an inter-ministerial briefing on the coronavirus on 24 March 2020. Picture: @TreasuryRSA/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - National Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane said that government wanted to avoid slashing public servants' salaries at all costs.

Mogajane said that the country's budget was a fine balancing act and the big question was whether the public wage bill was sustainable.

Government is forging ahead with its intention to cut the public sector wage bill. During his Budget speech on Wednesday, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said that he hoped to freeze the wage bill in the next three years.

FULL SPEECH: Tito Mboweni's 2021 Budget

Mogajane said that the economy had to grow and freezing public servants' wages was not enough.

"Is there growth in the economy? We have to grow the economy and the freezing is not going to be enough for that number to increase. At this point in time, and I'm emphasising that, at this point in time, it is an issue."

Meanwhile, the Public Servants Association (PSA) said that it was eagerly awaiting the public sector wage negotiations due to start in coming weeks after Minister Mboweni vowed that the talks would be fair and equitable.

The union, which represents just over 200,000 workers in the sector, said that despite this, it was disappointed that the minister did not make mention of the wage dispute which will be heard on appeal in the Constitutional Court.

Treasury, however, referenced the matter regarding a court battle over last year’s wage increases in the budget review documents.

However, the union was not happy that Mboweni stated that government would be negotiating for a three-year multi-term agreement.

PSA spokesperson Reuben Maleka: "There is no way that we can go into negotiations of multi-term with the employer considering their conduct and the fact they can never be trusted, that we can make a long deal with them that they can honour."

WATCH: R10bn for vaccines & no tax hikes - Mboweni delivers Budget Speech

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